Circular Lighting Report

Ireland recycles record number of lamps

waste fluorescent lamps

IRELAND has recycled a record number of lamps and electrical equipment including luminaires.

WEEE Ireland says it dealt with 2.3 million lamps and almost 19 million waste electrical and electronic equipment in 2021.

The lamps included incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, compact fluorescent, sodium and metal halide.

In total, almost 39,000 tonnes of waste was collected, a record amount. The numbers make WEEE Ireland one of the best performing recycling schemes in Europe.

Leo Donovan WEEE Ireland‘As a nation we are consuming more electrical goods than ever,’ said WEEE Ireland chief Leo Donovan, right. He warned that its unsustainable targets need to change to reflect a more circular economy.

‘Although our percentage takeback levels are far above the European average, the distance to our mandatory 65 per cent take back target is widening every year.

‘The changing nature of products and their lifecycles, mean that the simple linear weight system is no longer fit for purpose.

‘If a laptop is repaired or reused it is not currently  counted towards Ireland’s environmental performance.

‘New home technologies such as solar PV panels and heat pumps for example are large tonnage items which now have a life span of more than 15-20 years thanks to innovation by the producers.

‘They will not reach end of life for recycling for decades and yet still count in today’s target measurements.

‘The same has happened in lighting where long-lasting LED bulbs are changing the nature of the landscape previously dominated by short use incandescent bulbs.’

WEEE Ireland accounts for over two thirds of all national waste electrical and electronics collection activity on behalf of 1,296 producer members.

In 2021, the equivalent of 231,179 tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided by recycling e-waste through the WEEE Ireland Scheme as opposed to landfilling. That is the equivalent of the annual carbon consumption of 4,624 hectares of trees.

An average of 94 per cent of material across the WEEE categories was recovered for use again in manufacturing or final energy recovery.

The country’s largest electrical and battery recycling scheme also exceeded the EU’s 45% target for waste portable batteries in 2021 by 1 per cent – with 1,085 tonnes collected, a 16 per cent increase on 2020.  57% of electrical waste was collected from retailer sites – up 233 tonnes on the previous year, and the seventh year of increases, while 28 per cent was collected at local authority sites.

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.